This is a work of fiction.
My English Teacher
As I told you yesterday, our old English teacher resigned from school yesterday, and a new English teacher has joined today. Our old English teacher had given us a homework assignment yesterday and asked us to write about our favorite personality. She told us that the new teacher would check our assignments.
But I was feeling so lazy yesterday, after coming back from school. I slept for sometime, watched a movie on TV, played some computer games, ate dinner and slept off. When I went to the school today morning, I was shocked to find that most students had done their assignments. Since a new teacher was coming, they were afraid that the punishment for not doing the assignment might be harsh.
I too didn’t want to take a chance. I skipped the morning assembly, got a notebook from my friend who had completed the assignment, and I copied the whole assignment from him.
Today, the first period was English and as expected, our new English teacher came. She came to each desk, read whom each student had written about and made some comments. My desk was right at the front and hence she read my (copied) work first.
My friend, from whom I copied had written about John Locke. In my hurry, I didn’t even notice the name of the person. She told me that writing about a long-forgotten 17th century thinker and philosopher was an excellent idea, and asked me from where I got the inspiration to write about him.
I had no clue. I was staring blankly. I guess she thought I was a bit shy and hence she went to the next person. Before I could recover from my shock, I found that the teacher had come close to the bench where my friend (whose work I copied) was sitting. I looked at him and he was trying to communicate something to me.
Oh, no!! I forgot to return his notebook! I immediately passed the notebook to others who were in between us. By this time, the teacher reached his desk and saw the notebook being passed to him.
As if all these blunders weren’t enough, I found to my horror that I accidentally passed my own notebook to him, instead of his! He had no time to notice all that and gave the teacher the same notebook for verification.
Once she got the notebook, she read about the same John Locke and looked at me. I guessed she recognized my handwriting too. I hung my head in shame. Immediately she came in front of the whole class and showed the notebook to everyone.
I was visibly shocked. I knew I had messed up things really bad. After looking at me once she told everyone, “Children, please give a round of applause for this handwriting”.
I was frozen in my place. She then went on to check what others had written.
As usual a few students had not completed their homework and they gave some petty excuses on why they forgot to complete their assignments. The teacher listened patiently to everyone and then turned to the black board.
She started writing something in Tamil, on the top of the board. An English teacher writing in Tamil!! We were all stunned. She wrote the following verse from ‘Tirukkural’.
“Irandha veguliyin theethe siranda
Uvagai maghilchiyin sorvu”
She even told us what the Tirukkural verse meant. It means, “More evil than inordinate anger is forgetfulness resulting from the intoxication of great joy”. And then she started with her lessons, mindfully aware that the most important lesson was already taught.
All of us were shaken. Me, even more. From now on, I am definitely going to do all my English assignments on time. How can one develop a rough-skin towards so much kindness?
This is my entry to the ISB iDiya for Indichange contest.
The social cause I have written about is the verbal and physical assault against students in our schools, in the name of punishments. I am sure all of us have experienced some form of corporal punishment in our schools.